Newbury owner/trainer Tim Underwood will be stepping up to receive two trophies at the Tattersalls National Point-to-Point Awards in the autumn, but rueing the ones that got away.
"I wanted to get a full house, which has never been done before, and we came close," said Underwood (pictured above left with rider Phillip York), who is assured of winning the Foran Equine Leading Trainer title for yards with seven or fewer horses, and also the Tattersalls Leading Owner award. He has trained 21 winners this season, and is the owner of 22 winners.
He also came close in three horse titles, but has missed out narrowly. His Streets Of London finished runner-up in the PPORA's champion young-horse category, three points behind The Last But One, while Bluebell Sally can do no better than fourth in the Jockey Club Champion Maiden Mare category. Timmie Roe, who is also owned and trained by Underwood, was heading for the Connolly's RED MILLS National Champion Horse, but after eight wins suffered a fatal injury and has been overtaken by the Amie Waugh-trained Winged Crusader. He has also won eight races, but a second-place nudges him ahead.
Streets Of London, who has won seven races, could have gained the title if running and winning at next week's final meeting of the season at Umberleigh, but Underwood said: "He won't be running because I've sold him to [South East-based point-to-point trainer] Nigel Benstead.
"I would have liked to have kept him, but I turned down a very good offer for Timmie Roe and the next time he ran was his last. A licensed trainer offered me £35,000 for him and it was agreed I could keep him until the end of the season – then that happened. It was a huge shame – he could have done well under Rules off a handicap mark of 98.
"Bluebell Sally had a great chance in the Jockey Club mares' award, but needed to win at Kingston Blount and she unseated Yorky [Phillip York] when going well, so that was her chance more or less gone."
A printer by trade, Underwood has shown once again that he can train a winner, yet he has to box his horses to the Jockey Club's Lambourn gallops to work his horses. He says: "I'm always being asked what is the secret of training winners, but I haven't got one. What you feed a horse on is important. I give mine 3lb of crushed oats in the morning and 9lb to 12lb of oats each evening with a bowl of horse and pony nuts, a double handful of Alfa-A and plenty of good haylage.
"Oats were good enough for the great old trainers of the past like Fulke Walwyn, so why not use them today?
"Once my horses are fit I aim to keep them fit mentally as well as physically. I turn them out and they hardly see gallops if they are running regularly."